on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Photographing Deep Time

A Geological Take on the Northumberland Coast

Tom White

Landscape photographer based in Newcastle upon Tyne with a love of Scotland and the Lake District


A momentary burst of light, a passing cloud formation, a crashing wave on the shore – so much of what we do as landscape photographers can often come down to a few fleeting moments as all the elements come together in front of us. In that moment all our knowledge and experience kick in and along with a little luck we hope that we’re able to capture the scene in front of us.

As that happens I nearly always have a stream of thoughts running through my head – I hope it’s sharp, is this really the best composition, I should have worn my thermals – but I don’t really have time to make any changes and just hope that my ability to use the camera and my luck are both in credit. For many of us I’m sure this is actually part of the thrill of photography, how hours walking up a mountain or a flight around the world can come down to just a few minutes of pressing the shutter. In a recent interview with Tim, this year’s winner of the Landscape Photographer of the Year Mark Littlejohn summed it up beautifully when he said “I love little fleeting glimpses, I love trying to capture little snippets of time.”


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  • Some excellent images, Tom – I share your excitement at photographing rocks and I’m sure many others do too.

    It’s also worth looking South of the Tyne, eg Marsden.

    • Thanks a lot Kevin, I’ve spent some time at Whitburn rock arch which I really liked.

  • herb1815

    Lovely images Tom, makes me wish I lived near the coast , just shows what a brilliantly
    Diverse genre landscape photography is .

    • Thanks Andrew, living near the coast is something I really enjoy. Book yourself a holiday up here!

  • Geoff Kell

    Hi Tom. Have just had time to read your article which I felt was very well written. I emigrated to Hampshire sometime ago but lived the first half of my life in the North East and still frequent the Durham/Northumberland coast when I can. I find the rock shapes fascinating too but have struggled to get decent images whereas you have come up with some beauties. I love the swirling shapes of the middle two pics but the first image suggests prehistoric toes to me! I hope the project goes well & would be interested to see it’s outcome. All the best. Geoff

    • Thanks Geoff, appreciate your comments. I know what you mean about the first one, it really looks like toes or claws. And I’m sure if you keep coming you’ll get something you like, there’s always a bit of luck involved as well.

  • kevinmarston

    Some great images here Tom – and a very good article. Having been born and raised in West Cornwall, but now living in landlocked Nottingham, your images really made me want to get back to the coast and wander! I like the fact that, without the sky, the scale of your photographs become an added element to ponder and reflect on. All the best with the project.

    • Hi Kevin, thanks very much for your kind words. The scale of the image is definitely something I wanted people viewing to consider, so I’m pleased to hear your reaction to that.

  • Adam Pierzchala

    For me too it’s the middle two images that stand out with their organic forms and subtle colours. Really good work!

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